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Measuring Labor Demand for Workers with a Criminal Conviction

  • Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Mitchell Hoffman (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Field
    Empirical Microeconomics
  • Location
  • Date and time

    October 27, 2020
    16:00 - 17:00

Please send an email to Nadine Ketel or Paul Muller if you are interested to participate in this seminar (series).


We employ a discrete choice field experiment on a large on-demand staffing platform to estimate the labor demand for workers with a criminal conviction (WCCs). Thirty-nine percent of firms are willing to hire WCCs without additional incentives, increasing by 2.4 percent for every 10 percent increase in the offered wage subsidy. The level of demand is higher for positions that do not involve customer interactions or high-value inventory, but is largely unaffected by labor market tightness. Crime and safety insurance, performance screening, including only workers with a less serious conviction, and providing objective information on the productivity of WCCs all significantly increase the level of demand for WCCs, and are all much more cost-effective than wage subsidies. Joint work with Zoe Cullen of HBS and Will Dobbie of Harvard Kennedy School.